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Myths and misconceptions re: mental illness
April 28, 2008
1:06 am
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LaCainam
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I really likd this articcle.

http://www.mindpub.com/art237.htm

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

"May is the mental health month, sponsored for the purpose of addressing problems of the mentally ill and to clearing up misconceptions about mental illness. As we near the end of the second millenium our ignorance about mental illness is about the same as it was in the pre-Christian era.

Here are some of the things I would like to clarify about mental illness during this mental health month:

1. Having an emotional disorder doesn't mean you are "crazy." People equate emotional afflictions with insanity. In the first meeting, after telling me about their problem, eight out of my ten patients ask me, "So, what do you think, am I crazy?" To which I customarily reply, "The fact that you are seeking help is a proof of your sanity. No crazy person ever comes to see me."

Emotional disorders afflict everyone--people who are normal, sane, average, successful, macho, super achievers, or any other category you can think of. Just as we all have colds, sore threats and upset stomachs, so also we suffer from emotional afflictions.

2. Seek help if the problem lingers on. Just as you don't need to go to a doctor every time you have a cold, headache, or upset stomach, you also don't need to go to a counselor every time you're sad or upset. However, when emotional upset hangs on, disrupts your relationships, family or work, you should seek help. When you feel that your emotions are controlling you rather than you controlling your emotions, check it out with a counselor.

3. Those who are mentally ill are less dangerous than the general population. In a study conducted by Northwestern Medical School, only 3 of 2122 contacts between police and citizens involved violent behavior by a mentally ill person, while 17 involved violent crimes committed by non-mentally ill persons. The vast majority of the mentally ill are not dangerous. Taken as a whole, those who are mentally ill are less dangerous than the average person.

4. Children can develop emotional disorders at a tender age. Childhood is not all fun and games--it can involve sadness, desperation, and crippling fears. The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Advisory Council both estimate that 12 % of children in the United States will develop a mental illness at some time in their childhood. As a parent, anytime you are unsure whether you can deal with your child's problem, it is better to err on the safe side and consult a mental health professional.

5. If you seek help from a mental health professional, it doesn't mean you're a wimp. On the contrary, it's a sign of strength. I have modified the serenity prayer a little and it reads like this, "God! Give me the strength to change in me what I can, and the courage to take help for what I can't, and the wisdom to know the difference."

The majority of people in today's world have problems in marriage, in parent-child relationships, in work situation, or because they feel depressed, anxious, or emotionally out of control. There is nothing "wimpy" about seeking help from a professional who is trained to deal with these matters.

6. People do get better. Perhaps we are still governed by the old myth that the mentally ill never recover. Only the seriously mentally ill (which covers one 1 or two percent of the population) never completely recover from their illness, but even they can function a lot better with professional help and rehabilitation programs. The remaining mental disorders are very treatable. Medications and psychological techniques are improving all the time and have lately become highly effective.

Treatment of many mental disorders leads to complete recovery. It's like the repair of a fracture. Once treated, it's cured. Some mental disorders may involve relapses, particularly, when you are exposed to the same condition. But, if you've learned the required emotional skills through psychological treatment, you will recover faster and with fewer complications after a relapse.

You have a body, so you can develop a physical illness. Likewise, you have emotions, so you can develop an emotional disorder.

Some say that the nation would benefit if everyone had a mental health professional to turn to just as we have a physician to help us with our physical problems. "

I used to be very involved in my church, but I rarely go anymore because of the hurt I've experienced. Mostly from the line of thnking that mental illness is satanic or demonic. I've been through tons of "deliverance" sessions for demon possession, which have been very harmful to me. I didn't know how to tell people that I wasn't posessed, that my illness was not a result of my sin... or my parents sin.

The church I have attended most recently has hurt me hugely as well. After a major crisis, I started attending there and asked to be placed in a small group. I was told that I could not be part of a small group because of my illness, as my issues would overwhelm the group and place them in a "bad spiritual place".

I don't know why I kept going.... I still do on occasion. It's just that it's so hard to separate my faith from the harm the church has done to me.

There's another book (although it's a little dated), called "Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?" by Dwight Carlson. I haven't read it from cover to cover myself, only snippets, but it's high on my reading list and I'll post a review when I'm done....

I wish churches would look more often and more closey to the needs of the humans in their congregations.

April 28, 2008
9:27 am
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garfield9547
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LaCainam

You said

"I used to be very involved in my church, but I rarely go anymore because of the hurt I've experienced. Mostly from the line of thnking that mental illness is satanic or demonic. I've been through tons of "deliverance" sessions for demon possession, which have been very harmful to me. I didn't know how to tell people that I wasn't posessed, that my illness was not a result of my sin... or my parents sin.

The church I have attended most recently has hurt me hugely as well. After a major crisis, I started attending there and asked to be placed in a small group. I was told that I could not be part of a small group because of my illness, as my issues would overwhelm the group and place them in a "bad spiritual place".

I don't know why I kept going.... I still do on occasion. It's just that it's so hard to separate my faith from the harm the church has done to me.
"

This is terrible what happened to you. These people and so called church does not give a damm about you is they cannot accept you unconditionally and help you in a healthy way.

You say that its hard for you to separate your faith from the harm the church has done to you.

Think about it. The people make up the church. If you take all those people away you would not have any church.

There are lots of churches you can go and investigate.

"I wish churches would look more often and more closey to the needs of the humans in their congregations. "

This is soo true

April 29, 2008
12:19 am
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bevdee
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Contemporary churches become tribal in nature. They set up defensive boundaries and stand ready to attack any perceived threat. Aside from ignorance about mental illness, part of their defense strategy is their "image". Having mentally ill degenerates around smacks of a sick faith - so best to get rid of them or downplay it.

Pride becomes the dominant value - in a futile attempt to protect the integrity of the tribe. It's kind of about PR.

Competition of righteous faith takes over-" my faith is better than your faith". Some churches start their own schools for their children. Then the mantra of righteousness is taken to a new level. My children are smarter than your children. My school teaches better values than your school. Jesus sits in our bleacher section at the football games.

Family pride serves the same disastrous purpose. This pride is the source of family secrets. Our contemporary society has become more civilized. Put old Alzheimer’s aunt or uncle in a nursing home. Talk about them - but keep them out of sight. Not good for the family image. Same with the church.

The real dichotomy is a piece of the mental illness treatment puzzle is inclusiveness. A mentally ill person feels like they are standing out in the cold, looking in the window at the joyful holiday party of normal folks. They know they're not welcome.

April 29, 2008
1:19 pm
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garfield9547
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LaCainam

Bevdee gave good insight into what is happening in religions around the world.

Nothing is going to happen to you if you open up and speak. You are anonomous here, just remember that.

You said

"There's another book (although it's a little dated), called "Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?" by Dwight Carlson. I haven't read it from cover to cover myself, only snippets, but it's high on my reading list and I'll post a review when I'm done....

April 29, 2008
1:23 pm
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garfield9547
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LaCainam

Bevdee gave good insight into what is happening in religions around the world.

Nothing is going to happen to you if you open up and speak. You are anonomous here, just remember that.

You said

"There's another book (although it's a little dated), called "Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?" by Dwight Carlson. I haven't read it from cover to cover myself, only snippets, but it's high on my reading list and I'll post a review when I'm done.... "

I really do not hope that your intentions for reading this book is to justify the wrongs being done to you.

Please reply and give your input on this.

I am here to listen. I attend church myself and so does my family, I never allow spiritual abuse if I find that its happening to me.

Love

Garfield

April 29, 2008
1:26 pm
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garfield9547
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LaCainam

Bevdee gave good insight into what is happening in religions around the world.

Nothing is going to happen to you if you open up and speak. You are anonomous here, just remember that.

You said

"There's another book (although it's a little dated), called "Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?" by Dwight Carlson. I haven't read it from cover to cover myself, only snippets, but it's high on my reading list and I'll post a review when I'm done.... "

I really do not hope that your intentions for reading this book is to justify the wrongs being done to you.

Please reply and give your input on this.

I am here to listen. I attend church myself and so does my family, I never allow spiritual abuse if I find that its happening to me. Although VERY difficult sometimes. I will share this with you later

Love

Garfield

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